In reply to Alex J – Peace Out

Alex J is someone I have never met, he began to follow me on Twitter a short while back and has commented on a regular basis on this blog. I don’t think he will mind me saying he is a student mental health nurse, and I for one feel that if this is the quality of our future mental health nurses things can only get better. There is a passion and an interest in Alex that is very encouraging for the future.

This post is all about one of Alex’s recent comments, I think me and Alex are similar in that we will not say something in 7 words if 236 will say it better (attempt at humour?). I tried to reply to this comment previously but just as I finished my reply my laptop crashed and I lost the lot, I was a “little” frustrated!!!!!!!!

So Alex’s comment are in Black and my reply is in Red. (probably obvious, bit patronising Jon!)

“get Mans a pint of cider it will be entertaining” laughed out loud to this. I know it’s a serious topic, but like you, I can do comedy and seriousness at the time 🙂

Sometimes it can be hard to laugh at serious things but I think it is important for many reasons, one important reason for being able to laugh at unpleasant things is my mates, they are merciless when it comes to abusing each other so you have to get used to it. As an example of how merciless they are, when I got the shit battered out of me, along with a few teeth, I was lying in bed with a face twice the size as normal and I have a picture of my mates smiling, pulling faces and all thumbs up :). One comment I got from a mate was “to be honest they have done you a favour really because your teeth weren’t that good before” gotta laugh aint ya!

I’ve gone periods of staying off the booze (more on this later) and although I totally respect my own issues with booze are completely different to yours (both in their nature and their consequences?), some of the principles relating to the way people deal with a “non-drinker” are the same and we have experienced similar responses, as would everyone trying to cut down or eliminate booze from their life.

Generally speaking I tend to stick within reasonable limits for alcohol consumption (although “reasonable” is the not the same for everyone. You for example). Your reasonable is literally zero I’m assuming. For me, even if I am going through a period of drinking 5 or 6 days out of 7, I’m such a lightweight I would usually not go above the weekly recommended amount of units. Sometimes I would (especially if 75% bottles of red wine are getting downed), but not every week. My relationship with alcohol is that when I am drinking it stops other things from happening. I’ll have 75% a bottle of wine perhaps in an evening at home on my own, watching a movie. Relaxing? Chilling out some may say? Yeh, but the problem is, there were maybe two or three other things that needed doing that evening. The bedding needed doing, I told myself I’d go down Morrison’s to get some groceries or maybe tonight was the night I was going to start doing press-up’s again!!!!

It seems that booze is a way of life, it is everywhere…. “i’ll have a coke please” “a coke, go on have a proper drink”…. I have no idea what the weekly recommended units are, but I think I would be able to smash those in a couple of hours. Booze does stop you doing things but it will do in normal life, it’s a relaxant. I think there are a lot of people out there that will have a drink pretty much everyday and I don’t see a problem in that, yes it may not be very good for your health, but not a lot is. 75% of a bottle, is there such a thing?? There is a lot of pressure in life these days and a relaxant can relieve that stress, momentarily, I wonder if the liquid is the relaxant or the action involved in disposing of that liquid. I know for me just opening a bottle of wine used to immediately relax me, of course that opening was followed very quickly with drinking it 🙂 or :(. I’m not gunna talk about the “press up” issue cus I need to do some of those as well.

None of those other things would happen if I were to drink. That’s okay if it was just one night, but I’d end up enjoying the Merlot & Movie combo so much I’d want to do the same the next evening after work, and the evening after that. Before you know it, I’m doing less physical exercise in the early evening, less supermarket shopping gets done (and I’m losing money by buying at local corner shops) and my flat chores are piling up! This in turn get’s me tense and sometimes stressed, and thus a vicious cycle can develop of needing to “chill out” after work and “relax” into the evening!

Habits form very quickly and if drinking becomes a habit it will be hard to break if you are an alcoholic or not. For me if this habit is causing you to get “tense and sometimes stressed” I would say that sometimes you become reliant on the booze. Personally I don’t think being reliant on booze is an overly bad thing we are reliant on so many things these days and after all booze is a “legal” and “harmless” drug just like tobacco. (LMAO).

I’m getting off track here, but the main point I wanted to make, is when I come off booze altogether some other people (they don’t mean to annoy me!) can be really irritating (or I FEEL irritated… need to take ownership of my own reaction here), that “Mans does NOT want a f****** drink tonight”. “Mans” is perfectly happy to go without tonight!!!! This is especially true at Christmas as you will know. Three years ago I think it was, I went 100 days without booze. Not because it was causing me “major” problems, but because I wanted to show myself I can NOT drink and I wanted to see the impact not drinking would have on me. Among other things, wanted to lose weight and reduce spending. These 100 days covered a whole X-Mas and New Year period. I achieved a lot in those 100 days.

Just as a point of accuracy here “Mans” is my surname shortened and not Man with an s 🙂

100 days is fantastic, I bet you felt so much healthier and better for it. Alcoholics can go weeks, maybe months without drinking, I did a number of weeks, possibly a month off the booze but personally that is just a trick, a manipulation. It shows the people around you your are not an alcoholic….. during my time not drinking all I would think about is booze and the kick I would get when I started again. People around me would be proud of my effort and most importantly get off my back and pay less attention so I could drink more in secret….

Having said that 100 days is brilliant and I think shows it isn’t a “major” issue for you which is cool :).

I enjoyed the one X-Mas party I went to that year but only after people eventually shut-up about me not drinking. I tried to laugh it off at first but then I think I got short with someone and eventually they stopped bugging me. It was a good night after that. But I tell you, that night, you’d have thought I was REFUSING TO TAKE IN OXYGEN, that’s how baffled people were (or they seemed baffled to me anyways) and how determined and committed some people were in getting me to take a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. You’d have thought I was sitting there NOT BREATHING and people wanted me to breathe! “Look everyone, we got someone here not breathing, someone help this man, give him a breath for Christ’s sake, help him”. “We got a man down, we got a man down”, “Houston we have a problem”.

Lol, it is strange isn’t it, I think people are just wanting you to have a good time, to let your hair down and enjoy yourself.

I was even having wine poured into my glass that I had just finished my lemonade out of! All well meaning and done with jokes and smiles, but half of me was okay with the banter and half of me felt disrespected (again, I take responsibility for my emotions, feeling disrespected, that’s on me).

Strange how people don’t want to buy you as many drinks when you are drinking, that could make for a very cheap night out. On the “disrespect” thing I think it is a good point. If you were at a Christmas meal with someone who had lost a lot of weight throughout the year, people would not be piling stuff on to their plate, they would respect the effort of that person and probably say over and over again “you have done so well” (mind you I bet that gets annoying as well!)

I’ve tried the route of having a drink once, maybe twice a week, but I now feel the time again has come to have a proper run of no alcohol (for physical health and finance reasons) but also for my psychological wellbeing as I want to introduce a bit more discipline into my life and some boundaries I can stick to. I’m also desperately trying to support and encourage both parents to give up smoking as it’s killing them (well one of them for sure). My point here, is that I want to show myself I can practice what I preach and “give something up”. I admit it won’t be forever, but I’d like to give up at least one thing going into the New Year, even if temporarily. Take away a “crutch” I rely on. Battle through it, overcome urge and temptation. DISCLAIMER – not saying giving up casual drinking for a month is the same as giving up a life-time smoking habit!

Although I don’t know you very well, I know you will achieve the goals you set yourself :). Smoking is a shitty habit/addiction, I smoke far too much but I haven’t got the will power to stop at the moment. Fair play to you for supporting your parents, sorry to here one of them are unwell from smoking, I hope they manage to give up!!. Tobacco is also a “legal” drug (??). I like your DISCLAIMER that should save you from a bit of abuse!! 

I would like to add a DISCLAIMER as well on the booze subject…. If you drink copious amounts on a daily basis and you want to stop, be very careful about just stopping, this can be very dangerous. Before I went into the booze clinic I was told to keep drinking (this pleased me immensely) because my body was so used to the alcohol and stopping it suddenly could kill me, once in the clinic I was on certain drugs that control the withdrawal and kept me safe. Also, and this is a personal opinion, don’t say “that’s it i’m never drinking again” it sounds daft but it is a day at a time, maybe even an hour at a time, setting fixed parameters can be dangerous because if you don’t manage to keep to those parameters it can set you off and give you another reason to drink more and more because you have “failed”. I heard a story recently of patients in a well known addiction clinic keeping diaries of future events, things as simple as watching a TV programme at the weekend and it being written on a calender, you might think “what’s the issue with that” but what if there is a power cut and you can’t watch that TV programme, what are you going to do you had been planning this for a week, for me this could be a trigger to drink?? (again this is a personal opinion, I don’t think a recovery can be completely regimented because we all know “Shit happens”).

And Jon, guess what I heard on the radio the other day! it was advert relating to this…. I’m up for it 🙂

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event/charity-challenges/dryathlon

Yeh I’ve got my own agenda and motivations for this, but if I can raise money for a good cause, then why not?

Alex

Go for it, I’ll do it with you, do you think people will consider back sponsoring me for 11 years, that could be worth a few quid. There is no problem in having your own agenda, there is no such thing as an unselfish good deed. It seems that January, February and maybe March are the only months it is acceptable not to drink because people are on a “detox”. If you do it I will sponsor you :).

Alex, thank you so much for taking the time to comment the way you do, selfishly it helps me a lot, and I hope it helps others as well!! I noticed “AL” commented the other day saying “Nice work, both of you x”, thank you AL x.

Oof, that is a long post!!

Peace Out

Keep smiling 🙂

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